Copyright Cameron Gallant, 2015
This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people and events is strictly coincidental.
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It’s never cloudy on Maikai Beach. That’s why I like it so much, I guess. It never rains. There are always things to do, girls to hang out with, and lush blue waters and green grass. Serenity. I go surfing every morning and most of the time manage to win several awards, a little bit of money. Most of the people are very generous. Days can pass in a matter of hours.
In one word, Maikai Beach is paradise. It’s like the dreams of the thousands who at some point built it up into the dreamy, sprawling metropolis it is today. In the afternoons, I wander the streets and do favors for people. I help them with their problems, no matter how big or small. I wander the streets to try to keep the city safe as well. In Maikai Beach, my evenings are always interesting.
“What’s the matter?”
“My basement is flooding, is there any way you can stop it?”
“Of course, ma’am.” I’ll try my best to not get electrocuted. The risks are low, but I wouldn’t want to die by trying to stop a basement from flooding.
Always interesting, right? :)
For some reason, not everybody shares my same satisfaction with Maikai Beach. My mother, for instance, resents the house on the beach. She doesn’t approve of me wandering the streets at night. She tells me I should be studying. I guess there’s something that can be learned from that. My personality and my mother’s don’t always mix.
Today, I am riding from the governing house on my horse, Arnold, when I am met by a strange man. I am immediately on guard even though Maikai is in general a very safe place. The city is divided into gated off districts that each have limited access. Each district, therefore, contains any problems it may have within itself. Today, I am in the very safe ‘recreation district’.
As a member of the city council, I am frequently traveling to and from the governing house. I frequently use bribes to allow other parts of the city to be opened to me (it is traditional to only be allowed in your home district). But how could I limit myself to just one district? There is too much to see in Maikai. The governing house is at the center of all 9 districts, which makes it a prime entrance and exit into any of the districts.
“Hello, Erandé,” says the strange man. He is dressed in solid black and his face is garbed and obscured.
“Who are you?” I ask. He has immediately aroused my suspicion, but I still must be careful. If there’s anything I’ve learned since I started surfing in the emerald waters of Maikai Beach, it’s that things are not always how they seem.
“I am a security guard from the governing house.”
“An undercover one. You have never seen me before.” I try to use my innate ability to detect lies. What could this man want with me?
Surprisingly, the man lets me look at his badge so that I can verify its authenticity, and I don’t think he’s lying. See? I told you things are not always how they seem to be.
Being a member of the governing house has its perks. I can identify an authentic government badge from a fraudulent one.
“What do you want?”
The man in black straightens himself and says imperatively, “Tell me if you know anything about the crime that just occurred at the governing house!”
This is news to me.
“I don’t,” I say. I hope my response registers in the guard’s brain as an innocent response, so he doesn’t falsely accuse me of a crime. “But I am interested in cooperating and helping you solve the crime. Tell me what happened.”
The guard looks at me suspiciously before finally bending to my persuasive powers.
“Alright…” he says slowly. Then, he pauses. “Didn’t you just come from the governing house?”
“That’s why I would make a good detective.” I say. I smile at my response. That convinced him. He allows me to come with him to the scene of the crime. The sky is a rich, sea blue, and the sea is a translucent, sky blue. The sun shines pleasurably on my back, warming me and giving me energy.
On my way over, I call my girlfriend. She is the epitome of a perfect girlfriend. She’ll jump up and jump right into the action. Her proportions are perfect. She kisses me whenever I want. I honestly think I’m in love with her.
My mom keeps telling me to get a girlfriend. Why should she know I already have one?
“Hey there, Sexy,” Amaza says as she picks up the phone.
“Hey, love. I’m on my way to the governing house. There’s a crime that just occurred there that I’m going to try to help solve.”
“You can do it, honey! Just don’t forget about tonight…”
I feel my heart rate spike up and feel a chill run up my back. Of course I wouldn’t forget. I’d had two sleepless nights waiting for the day to arrive since the time Amaza told me she was going to take me to some place special. Where would it be? Could it be in a part of a city I haven’t been to before? What would we do?
I will have to make sure my mom will not be present when I go out. I may actually be embarrassed.
“I’ll be there,” I say to Amaza. She blows me kisses.
I follow the black-garbed guard back toward the governing house, keeping my eyes out for any signs of an ambush. Maikai is my paradise, but that doesn’t mean it’s always peaceful. Kind of like Mexico.
When I get to the governing house, I send Arnold to the stables and directly address the man who is taking messages for the mayor. I cannot speak to the mayor, because he is several levels up from my position. Only really important people can speak to the mayor!
“What’s up? What happened?”
The man looks at me with a grave expression. “Erandé, the mayor has been kidnapped!”
I know what I have to do. “I’ll see what I can do.” I tell him.
Immediately, I begin poking around. I decide the most relevant, immediate action is to look into the surveillance files of the governing house. I am not entirely sure I will be permitted to see this information, but the mayor’s kidnapping seems important enough to break some rules. In this case, the end absolutely justifies the means. Imagine how pleased the mayor will be. What will he give me as a reward?
I twiddle around with some wires in the wall and replace a computer chip with one of my own that I have been carrying around for some time.
As I wait for my computer program to load and give me access to the system, I try to find out more information about the gentleman who told me the mayor was kidnapped. I search through databases that are rarely used and figure out he is the mayor’s chief advisor, named Harrison.
The security videos have loaded… I begin to play them, eagerly. I want to dive as deep as I can into this mystery.
The mayor is sitting with his back to the camera, when three men, garbed in black, appear out of the shadows. Each one has an array of knives and other weapons visible, and I’m sure each one also has a whole arsenal of weapons that I can’t see.
One thing is for certain. These men would be hard to kill.
Three security guards, including the security guard I was just talking to (who told me the mayor was kidnapped), rush at the three men dressed in black. There is a brief quarrel, in which clouds of dust arise, obscuring the scene. Once the dust clears, the three security guards are on the floor, passed out.
Puzzling. And the black garbs the kidnappers were wearing look oddly familiar. Just like the ones on my undercover security guard. But that doesn’t mean anything. Again, things are never like they seem in Maikai. Perhaps the undercover guard has intentionally mimicked the kidnapper’s choice of clothing.
I continue watching the videos.
The mayor is picked up by the three figures dressed in black, and carried out of the scene. As he is just sliding out of view, I hear him cry, “Save the city! Listen to me and my mentalities. It is the only way to save the city. Listen to any new regulations I evoke. I will return!”
Oh, that’s another thing about Maikai. When you’re in the city council, you realize just how few common folk fully accept the mayor’s policies.
“Have you found anything yet?” asks Harrison.
I think of how I will respond. I suspect there is some sort of foul play going on. The men dressed in black, the mayor’s unpopular policies, and the guards allowing me to come in and see if I can find anything as a detective leads me to believe the guards themselves were involved in the mayor’s kidnapping. If I say yes, without accusing the men of the crime, they may kick me out or attack me. But if I lie and say no, then what? They may politely excuse me from my detective duties in the governing house, and then what would I do? I’d be no closer to solving the mystery.
I realize it is getting late when I look at my watch. If this goes on for too long, would it be possible I would miss my date with Amaza? Would it matter if I saved the mayor? She would certainty take me out again if that happened.
“Well…” Harrison nudges me.
I know he is looking for a yes or a no. Maybe is not an option.
Harrison’s face whitens. “What did you find?” he inquires. There is a dangerous, sly tone to his voice.
These type of things end immediately once the mystery is solved. That’s because all of the magic is gone. There is no point to talk anymore about a mystery once it has been solved. If I can just accuse the guards that they are to blame for the mayor’s kidnapping, and I’m right, I should be able to call a backup force of citizens to help track down the government members. Of course, I don’t know how many men are involved, but I can’t imagine too many. If so, I would have heard something about the plot in the council meet, right?
I’ll have to act quickly, but I think I’ll be able to call backup in time enough that even Harrison and the other guards present now will not be able to do anything to me. I’m feeling pretty tense and full of energy should I need to defend myself.
“I am making a conviction!” I announce aloud. “The guards are in on it! They took the mayor against his will!”
“Treason!” shouts Harrison. He swings his fist at me, which I parry as the other guards are closing in on me. I try to call for backup, but can’t. I keep trying, but soon realize I must vacate the governing house.
I can’t call for backup; therefore, my accusation must have been wrong! Although I am not doing too poorly against the three guards attacking me, I am running out of energy. In a split second decision, I decide that I must flee. The government punishes those accused of treason very severely. I must not be caught.
I pick the first door out of the governing house that is not locked. It is the door into District 3, a more industrial, urban rationing of the city than the recreation district I had come from on my way in.
The sky is still a rich blue; however, there are now some puffy white clouds in the sky that remind me of big tufts of cotton. I get into the streets with my heart pounding. I am looking for a place to hide. I quickly decide, however, that getting as far away from the guards as possible is my best bet.
I call Arnold from the stables and quickly begin to ride through Maikai. I really want to go to the beach, because it will be busy and a place where nobody would expect me to go. The beach is wide open and has no place for me to bunker down and take any sort of refuge. But the beach is in the recreation district and the easiest way to get to it from District 3 would be to go back through the governing house. Obviously, I can’t do that. Fortunately, with my horse, Arnold, I temporarily lose the guards that are chasing me.
As I am fleeing, I decide it is in my best interest to continue my search for the mayor. Why not? If I can somehow miraculously find him and restore him as the mayor, the guards may be so glad, my punishment—whatever it is supposed to be— will be repealed.
So how do I find him? I ask many of the locals if they have seen anything suspicious, and as I am riding, I review the surveillance feeds from around Maikai. My device, which cost a fortune, by the way, not only manages to tap into the governing house’s surveillance, but also all of the surveillance from the districts that I’m allowed in.
The mayor is carried out of the governing house and into District 3.
I cannot believe my luck. So far, so good.
The mayor is carried down several streets and then put in an elevator in a tall, glass plated building.
Several guards have appeared behind me on horseback. I egg Arnold on.
One of the kidnappers jabs the button for the top floor, and then the doors shut, clipping out my surveillance.
So that’s where the mayor could be!
Arnold neighs and signals that the guards are gaining on me, closing in for the kill. But I realize I actually can see the building the mayor was brought into! In a split-second decision, I stop Arnold and dismount as close as I can get to the building. There is a flight of stairs, I must climb to the entrance doors… I need to climb them and get inside to the elevator before I am caught.
My heart is pounding in my throat. I dash for the building. All around me, guards jump off of their horses and follow. I make it up the steps without tripping or falling, which is very fortunate. If I hadn’t, I would have surely been caught. I am pleased with my performance at a time when there is so little margin for error.
I enter the building and make for the elevator. The guards are still pounding behind me!
I enter the elevator. Then, I feel as if all of my control has suddenly been taken away. I freeze. The elevator doors are closing automatically and the button for the top lights up without me touching it. I rumble upward in the elevator until all of the floors have given way beneath me. Now, the doors open and I walk out. I see the mayor.
He is sitting casually on the roof with his legs crossed. As I approach him, he turns and looks at me.
“Ah. The game is up. While you must have been clever enough to get here, unfortunately, the time to accuse me is now long over.”
I do not yet understand what the mayor is getting at. The only thing I can think of is ‘I found the mayor! My treason should be forgiven!’
“It was actually I who kidnapped the mayor. Of course, I am the mayor. It was I who ordered my closest guards such as my chief advisor to stage my kidnapping. It makes perfect sense. My chief advisor, Harrison, was meant to start messing things up as soon as I was gone. Give it two weeks and Maikai would be clamoring for the return of their beloved mayor. Then, at that point, I would be miraculously found.”
The mayor gives me a crafty grin.
“That would grant me much more respect among the people of Maikai.” He taps his fingers impatiently on the roof. “GUARDS!” he shouts abruptly. “Lock this bloke up! He knows far too much.”
Guards burst out of the elevator that carried me up moments ago.
I know the end is drawing near and try to see if I can make myself move to escape. To my surprise, now that the guards are running at me, I find that I can!
I run straight for the edge of the roof. It is my only hope. There is another building next door that I may be able to jump to. It is very close in height to the one I am on, but just slightly shorter. I train in on the building and with the guards running at full tilt on the roof behind me, I jump.
But no… no! NO! I did not jump far enough. And now I am falling! In an instant, I hit the ground and die.
Frustrated, I slam my fist against the desk and get up. How could I have been so stupid?! Mom is calling me, but I ignore her. I want to shut the world out. I want to brood over my losses. I don’t know where it will reset me, but it will probably reset me to a point before Amaza told me she would bring me somewhere special. Before I unlocked District 3 even! I stare angrily at the text Maikai Beach is displaying on my computer: “You died.” It wasn’t even my internet connection that went. I had actually been stupid enough to die in my stupid video game. After so much hard work, I just lost everything!
I shake my head. My losses have only sustained my thirst for more. I know I need to put in extra hours to try to catch back up.
Mom is calling again. “Get off your computer and go outside. For goodness’ sake, go talk to some people!”
I look out of the window. It’s cloudy here and looks like it might rain.
I shut her out. I stand up, shake my hands for a couple minutes, and then sit back down with reinforced determination. It never rains on Maikai Beach.
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Maikai beach is perfect. Erandé always has something he needs to do. In his spare time, Erandé is a do-gooder who helps local residents with their problems, however large or small. Erandé also pokes in and out of the metropolis's government and works as a detective to get the bottom of all sorts of things. Like oh, say, the mayor's kidnapping! Erandé expects foul play, but is determined to see the mayor's kidnapping case through to its end, regardless of what could happen to him. SAMPLE: (469 words of 3106 words) It’s never cloudy on Maikai Beach. That’s why I like it so much, I guess. It never rains. There are always things to do, girls to hang out with, and lush blue waters and green grass. Serenity. I go surfing every morning and most of the time manage to win several awards, a little bit of money. Most of the people are very generous. Days can pass in a matter of hours. In one word, Maikai Beach is paradise. It’s like the dreams of the thousands who at some point built it up into the dreamy, sprawling metropolis it is today. In the afternoons, I wander the streets and do favors for people. I help them with their problems, no matter how big or small. I wander the streets to try keep the city safe as well. In Maikai Beach, my evenings are always interesting. “Erandé?!” “What’s the matter?” “My basement is flooding, is there any way you can stop it?” “Of course, ma’am.” I’ll try my best to not get electrocuted. The risks are low, but I wouldn’t want to die by trying to stop a basement from flooding. Always interesting, right? :) For some reason, not everybody shares my same satisfaction with Maikai Beach. My mother, for instance, resents the house on the beach. She doesn’t approve of me wandering the streets at night. She tells me I should be studying. I guess there’s something that can be learned from that. My personality and my mother’s don’t always mix. Today, I am riding from the governing house on my horse, Arnold, when I am met by a strange man. I am immediately on guard even though Maikai is in general a very safe place. The city has gated off portions that have limited access, which means each district of the city contains any problems it may have to its district only. Today, I am in the very safe ‘recreation district’. As a member of the city council, I am frequently traveling to and from the governing house. I frequently use bribes to allow other parts of the city to be opened to me (it is traditional to only be allowed in your home district). But how could I limit myself to just one district? There is too much to see in Maikai. The governing house is at the center of all 9 districts, which makes it a prime entrance and exit into any of the districts. “Hello, Erandé,” says the strange man. He is dressed in solid black and his face is garbed and obscured. “Who are you?” I ask. He has immediately aroused my suspicion, but I still must be careful. If there’s anything I’ve learned since I started surfing in the emerald waters of Maikai Beach, it’s that things are not always how they seem.